Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday inaugurated the new transit terminal building of Vijayawada airport at Gannavaram and urged the Centre to name it as NTR Amaravati.
“We will formally write to the Centre on this and you do the needful,” Naidu requested Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and Secretary R N Choubey. The Chief Minister also wanted the Civil Aviation Ministry to change the location of the proposed greenfield airport in SPS Nellore district from Dagadarthi to Krishnapatnam. “Krishnapatnam has a port. There is Sri City SEZ, Tirupati airport and Chennai. This belt has huge potential for development and the NITI Aayog studied the prospect of developing a Coastal Employment Zone here. Hence, the new airport should be built at Krishnapatnam,” he added.
Union Ministers M Venkaiah Naidu, Bandaru Dattatreya, Y Satyanarayana Chowdary, AP Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, Airports Authority of India Chairman G P Mahapatra and others attended the event. Choubey said once the runway expansion is completed, larger aircraft like Boeing 747 can land here. The Chief Minister and the Union Ministers also conducted a bhoomi puja for the runway expansion works.
Centre to spend USD 10 bn to develop airport infra
A sum of USD 10 billion would be spent in next five years to develop airport infrastructure in India so that the country could become the world’s third largest aviation market in seven years, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said on Thursday. As many as 400 unused airstrips across the country that had become cattle grazing grounds, would be brought back to life, he said.
Addressing a day-long India Aviation Summit here, Choubey said the Civil Aviation Ministry was determined to maintain the “historic” 23 per cent growth rate achieved in the aviation sector in the country. “USD 10 billion would be spent in next five years to develop airport infrastructure. Our aim is to become the third largest aviation market in the next seven years. We are determined to stay ahead of the growth curve,” he said. India’s nearest rival in terms of aviation growth was China with 14 per cent.
Progressive and proactive industry-friendly policies played a significant part in Indian aviation’s growth story and not just the fall in fuel prices, Choubey remarked. “Our ultimate objective is to take the flight to the masses and to this end we have come up with a progressive policy. We have also undertaken a very very bold experiment called Regional Air Connectivity Scheme at the national level,” he said.
“For the first time, the civil aviation sector has achieved rail parity. While the railways turnover is Rs 1.6 lakh crore, civil aviation turnover touched Rs 1.4 lakh crore and the number of rail and air passengers has also become almost equal,” Choubey pointed out.
“Civil aviation is now just as popular and just as necessary. Airfares are now comparable to air-conditioned train fares. No one could imagine subsidy for air travel but under the RAC Scheme, we have been extending 50-60 per cent viability gap funding,” he said.
Stating that RAC Scheme created a lot of “excitement”, the Civil Aviation Secretary said they received enquiries for as many as 800 routes. Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, and FICCI Chairman (Aviation) Pratyush Kumar were also present on the occasion.
The Civil Aviation Ministry organised the summit in collaboration with AP government and FICCI, for the first time in Vijayawada.